If you look toward the stars in roughly a week, a unique sight will be floating through the sky — The Shat. Yes, in this roundup, we’re talking about William Shatner visiting space, a win for diversity, vaccine mandates, and how Amazon continues to expand. In a recent RIMS podcast, host Justin Smulison touched on hybrid work related to risk and technology. We thought discussing the US workplace was an excellent place to start, as well.
Risk Management Wins From the Pandemic
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements, much of the US has been wide-eyed regarding how companies handle social issues. Will businesses turn a blind eye? Will these issues trend now only to fade away in the coming months and years?
Fortunately, diversity seems to be a critical element as companies reflect on their risk management plans during the pandemic. Seeing the situation from many perspectives is key when it comes to finding a viable solution. Businesses would do well holding tightly to this unique discovery of cross-functionality value. We foresee updated policies and procedures to back up these new developments.
Although some companies did better than others regarding DEI, the pandemic undoubtedly sped up the process and spotlighted the issue. In short, the pandemic and subsequent events shifted the climate significantly. Over the last year and a half, employees and consumers have come to expect a lot more from companies, and this dynamic likely won’t fade away anytime soon.
Amazon Increases Its On-Demand Strategy
Amazon will soon offer insurance to UK businesses, with a 20% discount to its Business Prime members. Major UK insurers will underwrite the giant’s new benefits provider, Superscript, offering contents insurance, cyber insurance, and professional indemnity insurance.
While this isn’t a surprising move on Amazon’s part, it does hit home the point that on-demand and pay-as-you-go insurance is becoming increasingly popular. Consumers are thrilled with it, and carriers are succeeding, too. While direct competition will happen between insurers or banks and tech firms, we anticipate more partnerships than battles.
In fact, we recently witnessed a similar partnership domestically between Amazon Business Prime and Next Insurance, the leading insurtech company. We expect to see many more collaborations like this soon.
The Final Frontier: Risk Management for Space
On October 12, 2021, William Shatner, aka Captain James T. Kirk, is scheduled to blast off into space in a low Earth orbit (LEO). He will join the crew of Blue Origin’s New Shepherd, owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos. The short flight is more of a joyride, a been there, done that sort of thing. However, it does raise some interesting questions.
For one, how does risk management for space innovations look? And who governs the final frontier? With satellite launches only increasing in frequency and the cost to launch decreasing, many people wonder if space will become a logistical solution for freight in addition to a joy ride. Will space freight be a thing? That said, will more carriers enter the space of space, per se?
There are so many questions, and we expect some answers to unfold shortly. With Bezos pushing the limits of what’s possible, exploring the diverse risk possibilities is the next practical step.
Vaccine Mandates and Employment-Related Issues
Record-setting employment-related liability (EPL) lawsuits peppered 2020’s schedule, with employers experiencing loads of push-pull at the state level. But with money tight and some businesses struggling to stay afloat, paying for an insurance policy is sometimes considered more of a “maybe” task.
We’ve seen plenty of employers opt out of EPL insurance, mainly because of two reasons: 1.) It’s an expense, and 2.) They hire a human relationship staff person to cover employment-related issues. Of course, a staff person certainly can’t pay for legal defense; however, it’s a strategy that many businesses pursue.
The dust hasn’t settled from the 2020 EPL lawsuits, and 2021 (and beyond) has seen its fair share of EPL litigation already. With Biden’s recent vaccine mandate, we expect to see more EPL lawsuits surface. In the meantime, here’s what we know so far about vaccine mandates and EPL issues.
Lastly, non-compliant employers could face more liability, although even compliant employers face plenty of liability. Going to court always costs somebody something, after all. However, with several government agencies involved — OSHA, EEOC, and ADA, to name a few — we wonder what the ultimate pushback will be and who will handle it?